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Link between Robert Vadra, arms dealer, London house, says report

Robert Vadra’s lawyers have denied any link with an arms dealer.

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Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, is being probed after Income Tax raids on controversial arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari revealed alleged links between the two and cryptic references to a London property, NDTV reported on Monday.

Citing a preliminary report prepared by the “Income Tax department and the Enforcement Directorate” following raids last month on 18 premises owned by Bhandari, NDTV said that emails were found which were allegedly sent by Robert Vadra and his executive assistant, Manoj Arora, to London-based Sumit Chadda, a relative of Bhandari.

NDTV said it couldn’t confirm the authenticity of these emails.

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However, it reported that Robert Vadra and his executive assistant sent emails “discussing payments and renovations for the London home (12 Ellerton House, Bryanston Square) bought for 19 lakh GBP (Rs 19 crore) in October 2009 and sold in June 2010”.

In one email, Robert Vadra is said to have replied to Chadda that “he would look into the issue”. And that his “secretary” Manoj Arora will be “in touch”. Thereafter, Arora kept in touch with Chadda using an email ID “Exim Real Estate”, the channel reported.

Robert Vadra’s lawyers did not respond to an email sent by The Indian Express.

NDTV quoted his lawyers as saying, he (Robert Vadra) “does not own, directly or indirectly, any house described by you as No 12, Ellerton House, Bryanston Square, London” and that Mr Vadra and his assistant “have not entered into any transaction of a financial nature with Mr Sanjay Bhandari and are not even aware that Mr Sanjay Bhandari is involved in any defence transaction.”

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Arms dealer Bhandari formed Offset India Solutions (OIS) in 2008 which rapidly grew into a multi-crore venture before Bhandari’s business dealings were reportedly red-flagged in 2014 (after the new government came to power). While OIS recently won a deal to supply parts for 38 combat aircraft India is buying from Dassault Aviation, Bhandari is being investigated for alleged financial violations linked to suspected shell companies between 2009 and 2014, according to NDTV.

At an AICC press conference on Monday, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi rejected the NDTV report. “Let me also make it categorical that we have received a preliminary email reply from Mr Vadra that none of it is true. He has received no notice contrary to the report from ED or IT regarding this issue. This is based on misinformation, this is based on yet another part of the same dirty tricks department of the government which believes in opportunistic and selective leaks and therefore we condemn such attempts by the government.” he said.

First published on: 31-05-2016 at 03:45:57 am
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